Kolkata, Oct 23 : Leading writers, scientists and celebrities of Bengal Tuesday saluted the genius and literary contributions of litterateur and Sahitya Akademi president Sunil Gangopadhyay.

Gangopadhyay died here early Tuesday following cardiac arrest, family sources said.

"It's a huge loss for Bengali literature. An era in our lives has come to an end with his death," said celebrated author Nabanita Dev Sen.

Condoling Gangopadhyay's death, veteran writer Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said he had heralded a new style in Bengali literature.

Octogenarian poet Nirendranath Chakrabarty, who knew Gangopadhyay for six decades, said: "I had high respect for his style of writing. He has enriched Bengali literature with his talent."

Acclaimed novelist Suchitra Bhattacharya likened his presence in her life to a Banyan tree.

"We never thought he would leave us so soon," said Bhattacharya.

Critically acclaimed actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who was a junior to Gangopadhyay during their college days, was left speechless.

"I had known him since my college days. I had a long association with him. It is very difficult to express my feelings in words," said Chatterjee.

Popular Bengali writer Sankar wondered how Gangopadhyay could be so prolific in his writings.

"He had contributed to every aspect in the field of literature. I still wonder how he could write so much," said Sankar.

Movie Director Goutam Ghose recalled Gangopadhyay's liberal views and said he would live on through his creations.

"He was one of my favourite authors and, despite our age difference, he was one of my best friends. I could share everything with him. He was a man of liberal views. He will live on through his creations," said Ghose.

Eminent scientist Bikash Sinha, who admired the author for his affinity to science, said: "He was like a huge sun in the literary galaxy. He used to say that literature can't develop much without the contribution of science. With his death, we have lost a near and dear one," said Sinha.

Having authored over 200 books over six decades, Gangopadhyay created a niche for himself on the Bengali literary scene. He touched upon almost all genres of Bengali literature -- novels, children's fiction, poetry, literary criticism and essays -- but poetry was closest to his heart.


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